Colin Kaepernick is back in the NFL’s most popular video game, and he’s viewed as much better than your average free agent.

EA SPORTS announced Tuesday the controversial quarterback will be available for fans to use with any team in Madden NFL 21 “Franchise” mode. Even though Kaepernick last played in the league in the 2016 season, his player rating is better than that of half of the starting signal callers.

“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game,” EA SPORTS said in a statement.

“Knowing that our EA SPORTS experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football. We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”

Kaepernick’s 81 rating ranks him 15th among all quarterbacks, tied with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins are just ahead of Kaepernick with an 82 rating.

The rating puts Kaepernick ahead of Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was one of the league’s top players last year. In 12 games, Tannehill led the NFL in both passer rating and yards per attempt before taking the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has a 79 rating in Madden 21. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and New England Patriots starter Cam Newton both have a 78 rating. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a 77 rating.

Patrick Mahomes leads all quarterbacks with a 99 rating, fresh off winning the Super Bowl MVP award with the Kansas City Chiefs. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is second with a 97 rating. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has a 94 rating after winning the 2019 NFL MVP award unanimously.

Kaepernick has an 88.9 passer rating in 69 career games. He led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season when he first became a starter. Kaepernick set career-highs with 3,369 passing yards and 639 rushing yards in 2014.

In 2019, the NFL reached a settlement with Kaepernick. The quarterback sued the league, alleging it colluded to keep him off an NFL roster.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest of racial injustice became a US controversy
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest of racial injustice became a US controversy GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Carmen Mandato