Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday the club is prepared to "make a fair and equitable settlement" with linebacker Rusty Tillman, who was cut Tuesday, 2 1/2 weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Tillman had complained bitterly that the Redskins had offered to pay him only one game check - the equivalent of $4,000 - because he had told them he thought he would be able to play by the second week of the regular season. He also was considering filing a grievance.

Beathard said he had spoken with Tillman yesterday and "we're going to be fair about it. I don't think Rusty is asking for anything a player with his injury shouldn't ask for.

"Any time we're dealing with a player who is hurt, we'll meet our obligation. We're not out to (cheat) any players. That's never been our intention, and Rusty is no exception.

"What we've discussed so far, he seems to think is fair. It's between Rusty and the club. We feel we're responsible to pay the player until he's well. We know Rusty worked hard to get well. He will be treated the right way."

Tillman was not available to comment yesterday, but Dick Berthelsen, staff counsel for the NFL Players Association, said the team's willingness "to talk about it is certainly a step in the right direction."

"Nothing has been finalized," Berthelsen said. "I spoke with Rusty earlier in the day. Obviously one game check is not satisfactory, but they seem to be trying to resolve it themselves, and that's a good sign."

Beathard said yesterday the cuts of Tillman, center Len Hauss and defensive tackle Dennis Johnson were not economically inspired.

"We're not going to waive good football players because of salaries," he said. "Any team wants to have a budget that's in line but that doesn't enter into our decisions on whether to waive or trade.

"When we're talking about players (Coach) Jack Pardee has never said, 'What's this guy making and what's that guy making?' and then said, 'We'll get rid of the guy with the higher salary.' Jack has enough to do without worrying about how much they're being paid. We're not afraid to pay a man's salary. Decisions are just not made that way."

Beathard also indicated he had begun preliminary discussions on an injury settlement with Hauss, who had suffered a sprained knee in the final Redskin preseason game before he was placed on waivers.

"We just started talking, but it's nothing like Rusty's case," Beathard said. "We'll do what's right in both cases. I don't anticipate any problems with either of them."