Meanwhile, what affect, if any, does this have on Caleb Hanie, the backup QB who has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight since Cutler broke his thumb?
Well, in the immediate future the answer is simple. It should have no affect. Hanie will start on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
But over the longer term, it could mean much more. For if Hanie comes out and throws interceptions, the temptation to bring in McCown might be hard to resist.
But the temptation would probably be stronger if it was Orton. McCown hasn't played in the NFL since 2009, and hasn't had any meaningful playing time since 2007.
None of this seems to be bothering Hanie in the least. At his news conference today, he told the assembled media that Lovie Smith had ensured him that "you're our guy."
And that makes sense on a couple levels. For one, the Bears don't want to hurt Hanie's confidence heading into Sunday's game.
Also, it is unreasonable to expect McCown to be ready this quickly. The move did make sense, however, as McCown is familiar with offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense having been a member of Martz's Lions team in 2006, though he did not play.
In nine seasons, McCown has thrown 35 TDs, 40 INTs and has a QB rating of 71.3.