Gathers, 25, spent the previous three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He was waived last week as the Cowboys already had Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz on their roster.
The former Baylor basketball star will be suspended for the first game of the 2019 season for a violation of the NFL's program on substances of abuse.
“He’s gotten better really each and every year, he takes a really good approach,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Gathers last month, per Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram. “I think he’s learned how to become a professional and continue to grow. Like with any player you need to see him get to a point where you can put him in and do a few different things that we ask our tight ends to do. It’s not an easy position.
“You have to be reasonably involved in the running game, reasonably involved in the passing game so there’s a lot of things for him to continue to learn. He’s definitely getting better and better.”
Gathers has recorded three receptions for 45 yards while playing in 15 games last season, including four starts. He'll join a Browns depth chart at tight end that is headed by David Njoku and Pharaoh Brown, but Gathers could wind up finding a role in the offense.
With camp already underway, Gathers will have to learn the offense and find his niche fast. The Browns have six tight ends already on their roster and will likely only carry three or four on their 53-man roster.