The Bears need to help Justin Fields like Dolphins bolstered Tua Tagovailoa

The Bears finally helped quarterback Justin Fields at the trade deadline.

The Dolphins, though, have been building around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa since they drafted him– even when they weren’t sure that he was the answer.

The difference between the two approaches will be on full display when Tagovailoa leads the NFL’s best passing offense Sunday at Soldier Field. The third-year quarterback boasts the league’s highest passer rating and two of the NFL’s top four receivers.

Tagovailoa is 5-0 in games he finishes — he missed two starts after a scary concussion –and has been sacked on just 4.1 percent of his dropbacks, the fifth-best mark in the league. Pro Football Focus grades him as their third-best quarterback, one spot ahead of Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes.

None of it is by accident.

The Bears have only begun to invest in Fields. Trading for Steelers receiver Chase Claypool on Tuesday was the largest offensive commitment general manager Ryan Poles made since being hired in January. The Bears will have the most salary cap space in the NFL this offseason — and, for only the second time in five years, their own first-round pick.

Poles can only hope to build the structure around their quarterback that the Dolphins established over the last three seasons.

The Dolphins gave Tagovailoa two tackles, two receivers and a play-caller — and paid a steep price to do it. Consider:

o Less than two hours after drafting Tagovailoa No. 5 overall in 2020, the Dolphins drafted right tackle Austin Jackson at No. 18. The Bears haven’t drafted a tackle that high since they took Chris Williams No. 14 in 2008.

o In 2021, they chose Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle sixth overall. The Bears have never drafted a receiver that high.

o In February, they hired 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel as their head coach and play-caller. A month earlier, bucking league trends, the Bears made Matt Eberflus the only defensive coordinator in the hiring cycle to get a head coaching job without already working for the franchise.

o In March, they signed Saints left tackle Terron Armstead to a five-year deal worth $43.4 million guaranteed and up to $87.5 million overall. The Bears have never written a check that large for a tackle.

o One day later, they dealt five draft picks for Chiefs for Tyreek Hill, then gave him a four-year, $120 million extension with $72.2 million guaranteed, the largest contract for a wideout in the history of the sport.

What’s remarkable about that level of investment is this: the Dolphins might not even be convinced their quarterback is a star.

The NFL punished the Dolphins in August for having impermissible contact with quarterback Tom Brady during both 2019 and 2021. The league found the Dolphins talked to Brady last year, while he was a member of the Buccaneers, about becoming a limited partner — and also perhaps playing for them.

The league stripped the Dolphins of next year’s first-round pick as part of their punishment. When the Dolphins traded their other 2023 first-round pick Tuesday for Broncos edge rusher Bradley Chubb, McDaniel confirmed it was an indication the team had seen enough to believe in Tagovailoa. Without a first-round pick in 2023, they couldn’t replace him if they tried.

“From the get-go,” McDaniel told reporters, “I’ve fully seen Tua as our quarterback.”

If the Bears come to the same conclusion about Fields at the end of the year, it will come with the opposite reasoning: that he succeeded despite the supporting cast, not because of it.

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