But in the short-term, McCown has proven that above all else, a quarterback must protect the football for Marc Trestman's system to work properly.
That can probably be said for any NFL offensive scheme. Teams lose when they turn the ball over.
And turnovers continue to hold Jay Cutler back from reaching his full potential, given the overwhelming amount of natural talent he possesses.
Even though Cutler's play has improved under Trestman (88.4 quarterback rating), he still has tossed eight interceptions and lost three fumbles. Since he arrived in Chicago, Cutler has been picked off 71 times in 64 regular season games.
While there is no denying the strength of Cutler's arm, his decision making will always be questioned.
And that is why signing Cutler to a mega-deal is risky.
McCown has been terrific this season -- 61-of-101 for 754 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions and a quarterback rating of 100.0. But with all due respect to McCown, he will be remembered as a slightly above-average NFL quarterback when his career is over. I think most of us would agree with that statement.
So, if a middle-of-the-road, intelligent, veteran quarterback with a slightly above-average arm and deceptively good mobility can run the offense the proper way and win games, why do the Bears need to hand Cutler $100 million?
I'm not advocating that Phil Emery lets Cutler walk away in the offseason for nothing. The Bears gave up way too much to acquire Cutler from the Denver Broncos in 2009. The organization needs something in return via trade if Cutler isn't the starting quarterback in 2014.
That's why the idea of placing the franchise tag on Cutler, re-signing McCown to a short-term deal and possibly drafting a quarterback in May seems like a reasonable approach for the club to take in the offseason.
At least that way the Bears would have then protected themselves in every conceivable fashion.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.