CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Bears signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown to a one-year deal on Wednesday, as starting QB Jay Cutler underwent surgery on a broken thumb.

Meantime, the Kansas City Chiefs snapped up former Bears and Broncos QB Kyle Orton off waivers from Denver before the Bears had a chance.

The Bears have handed over starting duties to backup Caleb Hanie while Cutler is recovering from surgery on his broken thumb, but coach Lovie Smith had said the team would go after a veteran quarterback as well.

McCown, 32, has played eight seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002. He’s also played for the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers.

One benefit to signing McCown would be that he has played for offensive coordinator Mike Martz before while in Detroit in 2006.

McCown has started 31 games in the NFL, playing 47 games total. He has 6,584 passing yards in his career with 35 touchdowns, 40 interceptions and a 71.3 career passer rating.

The Bears had also expressed interest Orton after he was waived by the Broncos. Orton played for the Bears from 2005 until he was traded to Denver in the deal to get Cutler in 2009, so would have brought some familiarity with the Bears receivers and, unlike McCown, already has been playing in the NFL this season.

But reported Wednesday afternoon that the Kansas City Chiefs claimed Orton off waivers. The Chiefs had first shot at Orton over the Bears in the NFL waiver process.

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