The move is now official.
On Tuesday night, Tim McManus of ESPN reported that the Eagles have spoken to Nick Foles and will pick up the $20 million option for 2019 on his contract.
Eagles have notified Nick Foles that they will exercise his 2019 option, per source.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) February 6, 2019
The Eagles are hoping to trade Foles for more than the third-round pick they’d get for him if he walked in free agency. The idea of a trade has been gaining tractions since the quarterback needy Jacksonville Jaguars hired former Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo as their new offensive coordinator.
Among the assets the Jaguars have are running back Leonard Fournette and draft picks. The Jaguars have the seventh (first round), 38th (second round), 69th (third round) and 95th (third round) picks in the 2019 draft, all of which would come before any compensatory pick. If the Eagles are able to handle his cap hit, corner AJ Bouye could also be available.
There are some reports that the Eagles do not want Foles to wind up with an NFC East team as the Giants and Redskins will both be looking for a quarterback. That may be true, but if an offer is good enough, Howie Roseman won't miss out just to keep Foles away from the division.
Part of this decision for the Eagles likely has to do with the rule that each team can only get four compensatory pick each year. With players like Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Jordan Hicks and Golden Tate set to hit free agency with a chance at big contracts, the Eagles will likely have more than the maximum of four qualifying compensatory picks. Essentially, accepting Foles’ option would give the Eagles a chance to trade Foles for something and allow them to receive an additional compensatory pick that would otherwise not come through if Foles left as a free agent.
Another part of the decision likely has to do with the $6.1 million the Eagles received from the NFLPA last week as well as the $7.5 million they saved with Rodney McLeod’s restructure. The additional $13 million in space that they have created with just one restructure may have given the franchise confidence in how they can work the cap in the coming months.
Foles will have five days to pay the Eagles $2 million to void the contract and become a free agent or else he will be under contract for $20 million in 2019. That is the most likely scenario. It is at that point that the Eagles could choose to franchise tag Foles ($25 million) and both the team and Foles would have a say in where he gets traded as the quarterback could simply choose not to sign the tag unless he is sent somewhere he approves.
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Birds using the franchise tag is still an option, but not a sure thing.
Now that the #Eagles have made their expected move by picking up QB Nick Foles’ $20M option, it’s now his turn: Foles is likely to buy back his freedom with $2M of the dollars he earned from incentives. After that, Philly is considering the franchise tag to trade him.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 6, 2019
Stay tuned as this situation continues to play itself out.