The Bengals signed G/OT Stacy Andrews, who was designated last month as the team's franchise player, on Wednesday.
Andrews, who has played five years in the NFL, exercised his option to sign a one-year contract for a salary equal to the average of the top five offensive linemen in the NFL in 2007.
"We're happy Stacy is signed in advance of our offseason work," said head coach Marvin Lewis, "and this does not preclude our continuing to talk to Stacy and his representatives about reaching a longer-term agreement."
An unusually gifted athlete for his size, Andrews was a nationally prominent track and field star at Ole Miss, but he had played very little football when the Bengals drafted him in the fourth round in 2004. He has progressed steadily during his NFL career, and last season he became a leading performer on the Bengals line.
He played in every game last season with 14 starts. He started Games 1-3 at LG, and later replaced injured Pro Bowler Willie Anderson at ROT, starting there in Games 5 and 7-16. He was a key contributor to the team's record-low total of 17 sacks allowed. The Bengals ranked second in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed, just one off the pace of league leader New Orleans.