PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Nick Foles machinations began in earnest Tuesday night when the Eagles informed the veteran quarterback they would be picking up their side of a $20 million mutual option.

Foles and his camp technically had five days to volley back but needed just hours as they informed the Birds that Foles would indeed by paying back $2M to the organization to gain a path toward free agency in March, according to NFL sources.

The ball is now back in the Eagles court where the team must decide on whether to place the franchise tag on the QB between Feb. 19 and March 5, a tricky scenario.

The franchise numbers have not been confirmed just yet but the quarterback number is expected to be right around $25M and a trade would have to come after Foles signs the tag meaning Philadelphia would have to be very sure of a potential deal because once Foles puts pen to paper on a potential tag, all of that money is guaranteed.

The large number for one season must also fit under the top-51 salary-cap rule in the offseason for the Eagles before a deal could be made and could also affect trade value and lessen any potential compensation coming back, although an NFL source told 973espn.com ultimately Philadelphia's biggest goal is steering Foles away from the NFC East where both the New York Giants and Washington Redskins could be in the market.

From the Eagles perspective, the only way they would place the tag on Foles is if they have a wink-wink deal in place with another team ready to go by March 13, the first day of the new league year.

Potential suitors the Eagles would have interest in working with include Jacksonville, who brought in former Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo to be its offensive coordinator, as well as Miami and Denver.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen