"Honestly, it's too early to tell. That's as honest as I can be," Newton told WEEI on Monday (h/t Mike Reiss of ESPN). "Do I think I have starting talent? Absolutely. Do I think a lot of things that I've done were devalued? Not the team's perspective, probably the media's perspective—absolutely."
The 31-year-old finished the season with 2,657 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns, adding 592 yards and 12 scores on the ground. He believes his play showed he is good enough to be one of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
"If you are asking me, 'Do I want to be a backup?' Hell no!" he added. "When I look at other teams, and I'm looking at other players play, there have been guys that have been getting away with murder for years because of subpar play."
Newton is a free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Patriots in July.
The year was a failure from a team perspective as New England finished 7-9 for its first losing record since 2000. The Patriots had won the AFC East in 11 straight seasons before finishing third after quarterback Tom Brady's departure.
Of course, there was more at play than the change under center.
The Patriots lost key defensive players to free agency, including Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, while Dont'a Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out. The unit fell from No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed to No. 15.
Newton also didn't have much help at receiver as the only established player, Julian Edelman, missed most of the year with a knee injury.
While the veteran believes he has done enough to earn another starting role, he seemingly left the door open to serving as a backup if necessary.
It took almost four months for Newton to find a job with New England after being released by the Carolina Panthers last offseason. Even with a resume that includes three Pro Bowl selections and one MVP award, it might be difficult for the quarterback to land a starting position in 2021.