NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Eagles plan to pick up Foles' $20 million option for the 2019 season. And ESPN's Adam Schefter has since reported that even if Foles returns a $2 million bonus to Philadelphia in order to become a free agent, the Eagles seem "determined" to try trading the quarterback under the franchise tag.
Foles and the Eagles agreed to a restructured contract prior to the 2018 campaign, and the quarterback's new deal included the option, plus the $2 million bonus. While the Eagles picking up that option would keep Foles under contract for another year, it does not completely restrict Foles from testing free agency, as he can void the option year by returning the $2 million bonus to the team.
Foles will have five days after the Eagles officially pick up the option to decide whether to pay back the bonus, according to NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt. And comments from both him and Eagles brass after the season indicate Foles will, in fact, try buying his way to free agency for what figures to be his last, best opportunity to find a starting opportunity.
In other words, even with the option picked up, Foles is likely headed elsewhere for 2019.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP could still be traded, though, as Schefter noted. Technically, the Eagles could use their franchise tag on Foles if/when he becomes a free agent, then attempt to negotiate with other teams. But that wouldn't necessarily be as safe -- in terms of gaining compensation for Foles -- as simply awaiting a future compensatory draft pick for him leaving via free agency, as a tag and trade would require any prospective trade partners to take on Foles' franchise-tag salary.