Bears look for veteran back-up quarterback

Jeff Garcia worked out for the Texans, and he would seem to make sense as a Bears backup. Lionel Tay/Nighthawks

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jay Cutler's broken right thumb has forced the Bears to scan the open market for a veteran back-up to provide depth behind new starter Caleb Hanie.

"The plan is for that. With Jay being out for awhile, we need another quarterback on our roster," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "The plan is to look for a veteran, preferably, to come in and help us."

Five quarterbacks worked out for Houston on Monday, according to Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, including experienced starters Jeff Garcia, Trent Edwards, Brodie Croyle and Kellen Clemens.

Free agents Josh McCown and J.T. O'Sullivan have ties to current Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

So does Marc Bulger, but he told reporters back in the summer he was done playing football.

Despite the slim pickings, Smith believes the Bears will be able to land a quarterback who can give them a little insurance while Cutler heals from the fractured thumb which will require surgery.

"There is not that many floating around, but there are some," Smith said. "It's harder [to find one at this time of the year]. But these are the cards we've been dealt. We'll be able to get someone in, but first it's about Caleb. We feel good about the guy we're lining up under center right away leading our team. We do have [rookie] Nathan Enderle here also, but we like having three quarterbacks on the roster."

Technically, if the Bears add another veteran, the club would be carrying four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster since there are currently no plans to place Cutler on injured reserve.