The unrestricted free agent agreed to a new contract Friday. Lawson started 16 games for Cincinnati last season, his first with the Bengals. He had 78 tackles and 1½ sacks.
Lawson spent his first five seasons in the NFL with San Francisco, which made him a first-round pick in 2006. He has started 71 games during his career.
The agreement gives the Bengals stability at outside linebacker. Keith Rivers missed last season following surgery on his right wrist. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga faces a possible suspension from the league following his arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge last month. A court hearing is scheduled for April 26.
Maualuga got a two-game suspension after pleading guilty to drunken driving in 2010.