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Colin Kaepernick featured on Madden 21, Giants waive DeAndre Baker amid armed robbery case, and more sports news

Kaepernick is available as a free-agent quarterback in Madden 21 for the first time in five years.

Colin Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since January 2017, received an 81 overall rating in Madden 21.
Colin Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since January 2017, received an 81 overall rating in Madden 21.Read moreTodd Kirkland / AP

While Colin Kaepernick never received an opportunity to play in the NFL, he wasn’t listed on the Madden NFL game, either.

That changed on EA Sports’ Madden 21 video game. Kaepernick is listed as a free agent for the first time since 2016.

Fans of Kaepernick can sign him to their team on Madden’s Franchise Mode or play against him.

Kaepernick also has an intro for when he enters the game. His touchdown celebration is the Black Power fist.

“Back in the NFL for the first time since 2016, it’s Colin Kaepernick,” the Madden broadcast says during his intro. “It’s so difficult to prepare and try to defend Colin Kaepernick, and not just because of the physical skills that are always on display.”

Based on Kaepernick’s listed rating, Madden believes that he’d be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL. He has an 81 overall rating. That’s higher than Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton and Josh Allen, among others.

If Madden is any indication, Kaepernick deserves another opportunity. He’s 15 overall points above Josh McCown, who was just signed to the Eagles’ practice squad and ranked as the highest-rated backup free-agent quarterback. That’s about the same gap as Aaron Rodgers to Sam Darnold.

Giants release DeAndre Baker after armed robbery arrest

DeAndre Baker was a first-round pick in 2019. He was supposed to be the top Giants cornerback, guarding the likes of Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin in the NFC East.

Instead, his Giants career is over after 16 games. Baker was waived as he deals with off-the-field issues stemming from an armed robbery charge.

Baker was charged with four counts of armed robbery on May 13 after an incident in Miramar, Fla. He was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List in July. If convicted, Baker faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Baker didn’t participate in any of the Giants’ virtual workouts since the incident. It’s a frustrating outcome for a talented player and an organization restocking young talent.

To make matters worse, the Giants traded up in the first round to get Baker. From selecting him in the first round as a cornerstone player and trading three picks, nothing suggested that the Giants had any red flags on Baker.

Baker joined former Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas as a recently released player due to off-the-field arrests.

“Obviously it’s disappointing, OK,” Giants GM Dave Gettleman said last Wednesday on a Zoom call. “There was nothing in their background, nothing in Aldrick’s background, nothing in DeAndre’s background that would suggest these things would happen. So it’s disappointing on a variety of levels. And it hurts us because they’re two talented players, as well."

The Giants lost an opportunity to draft two other mid-round picks by moving up to get Baker, and it could be a decision that haunts the team unless a second cornerback emerges opposite free-agent signee, James Bradberry.

DeAndre Hopkins becomes highest-paid non-QB in NFL

DeAndre Hopkins was already locked into one of the best wide receiver contracts when he took a big risk and asked the Texans for an extension. Once the Arizona Cardinals traded for the Pro Bowl wide receiver, his risk paid off, but now he has the money to prove it.

The new Cardinals receiver is now the highest-paid non-quarterback ever. That’s a pretty big achievement for a wide receiver, especially when left tackles and pass rushers are often considered the two most important non-QB positions.

Hopkins signed a five-year, $81 million contract extension in 2017 that came with an NFL-record $49 million guaranteed for a wide receiver. His play steadily improved with the emergence of Deshaun Watson, so he cashed in yet again.

The deal locks Hopkins up until his age 33 season in 2025. Hopkins will be the 14th highest-paid receiver in 2020 — and his play has exceeded that.

He was named an All-Pro in each of the last three seasons and topped 95 catches, 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in each year. Hopkins is an elite receiver and for the second time in his career, he’ll be paid like one.