i don't think CJ is gone. he's stepped up after shaking his injury and proved how valuable he is to a team that's been missing a pass rush all year. pair him with ealy on a cheap rookie deal next year and your overall cap commitment to the DE position isn't so terrible (though i'd love to see us restructure him somehow, and i'm sure getts will try.)
i expect the DL to look fantastic next year, the linebacker corps about the same (which is outstanding) and some serious upgrades at safety. look for one of our marquee free agent signings to be at safety if anyone's there to be had. we'll probably draft a guy to play the nickel since bene and norman look like fuging ballers on the outside.
we're not far off.
I'd probably sort my defensive positions of need like this as of now:
1) SS (We need a young playmaker back here---Boston/Jones has seemed serviceable enough at FS to replace an expected DeCoud cut)
2) DE (DL is this team's core, let's keep building it with a balanced attacker, not a speed rusher)
3) OLB (Glanton/Blackman/Klein...meh we can definitely improve here)
4) CB3/Nickel (White is solid but I'd like to find another young guy in the 3rd-7th rounds)
Expiring contracts in Edwards and Cole could warrant a new DT behind Star-short though.