Bengals slap franchise tag on lineman Andrews for 2008 season

Cincinnati Bengals guard Stacy Andrews became the third NFL free agent to receive the franchise designation.

To keep him from leaving via free agency, the Bengals officially Monday gave Andrews a one-year, $7.455 million contract offer. Any team wanting to pull him away from the Bengals would have to give up two first-round picks.

Andrews helped anchor an offensive line that allowed just 17 sacks last season. Only New Orleans gave up fewer sacks, surrendering 16 in 2007.

Last week, the Eagles franchised tight end L.J. Smith and the Cardinals did the same with linebacker Karlos Dansby. Teams have until Thursday to designate franchise or transition tags.

Andrews' agent, Rich Moran, wasn't available for comment.

The Bengals have until mid July to work out a long-term deal with Andrews. If no long-term deal is worked out before mid-July, Andrews would have to play out the one-year tender.

John Clayton, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame writers' wing, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.