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Dolphins tender Duarte, Hull, Pitts, Steen

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins announced on Wednesday the tendering of four exclusive rights free agents. The team has used the tender on tight end Thomas Duarte, linebacker Mike Hull, cornerback Lafayette Pitts, and center/guard Anthony Steen. The tenders will prevent the players from hitting the open free agency market which begins on Thursday.

Exclusive free agents are players who have two-or-fewer years of service in the NFL, but have an expiring contract. A tender is a qualifying offer which a player must accept, or else he will not be in the league in the next year. There is no guaranteed money attached to a tender.

Duarte was a seventh-round selection by the Dolphins last year, spending the first half of the season on the team’s practice squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster. He was inactive for eight games, but did make one appearance during his rookie season.

Hull joined the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2015, splitting time between the practice squad and the active roster as a rookie. He played in three games that year, then played in all 16 games in 2016, with one start, and recorded 15 tackles and one interception.

Pitts signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins in 2016. He appeared in eight games as a special teams player during his rookie campaign after starting the season on the practice squad.

Steen began his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2014, joining Miami’s practice squad in 2015. In 2016, Steen started seven games at center for the team, filling in for injuries to Mike Pouncey.